POLITICS
18/02/2019 16:55 GMT | Updated 19/02/2019 16:18 GMT

From 262 To 248: Labour Has Lost 14 MPs Since The 2017 General Election

Who are they, and why did they leave the party?

Unless you’ve literally been hiding under a rock (and even then you’ve still probably heard about it), you have probably caught wind of the fact that seven Labour MPs dramatically quit the party this morning.

Citing Jeremy Corbyn’s stance on Brexit, the party’s failure to deal with anti-Semitism and the leader’s “hard left” following as the key reasons behind their decision to walk, Luciana Berger, Chuka Umunna, Chris Leslie, Mike Gapes, Angela Smith, Gavin Shuker and Ann Coffey all resigned to form an independent group.

But they are not the only MPs the opposition benches have lost in the last 20 months.

But who are they and why did they leave the party?

Kelvin Hopkins

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Luton North MP Kelvin Hopkins was suspended from Labour just five months after the 2017 general election after a young woman claimed he had hugged her inappropriately after a student event in 2014 and had later sent her a suggestive text message.

Hopkins denied the claims, saying he had only “put an arm around her”.

Now an independent MP, Hopkins called on the Labour Party in July to allow him to “clear my name”.

John Woodcock

PA Archive/PA Images

In July, Barrow and Furness MP John Woodcock quit Labour to sit as an independent in the House of Commons.

It came two months after he was suspended from the party over claims he had sent inappropriate texts and emails to an ex-staffer between 2014 and 2016 – claims Woodcock strongly denies.

In his resignation letter to Corbyn, the MP – who first won his seat in 2010 – said he was quitting over Labour’s refusal to appoint an independent investigator to oversee the inquiry into the allegations, saying it was “not credible” he would receive a fair hearing from the party.

Woodcock went on to accuse the Labour leader of allowing the party to be “taken over at nearly every level by the hard left”.

Jared O’Mara 

HuffPost UK

Jared O’Mara, one of Labour’s 2017 cohort of new MPs, was suspended from the party that year after it emerged the 37-year-old had made historic sexist and homophobic online comments. 

While Labour reinstated the Sheffield Hallam MP in July, he quit the party shortly afterwards, accusing it of no longer sharing “my commitment to the true definition of equality and compassion”. 

In an open letter to his constituents, O’Mara apologised for any offence caused by his online remarks between 2002 and 2004, but said he had been “made unfairly to feel like a criminal”. 

“Nobody should be made to feel ashamed for mistakes they make when they are young,” he said. 

Frank Field

Press Association

Veteran MP Frank Field dramatically resigned the Labour whip in August, accusing Corbyn of becoming “a force for anti-Semitism”.

The MP for Birkenhead, who has held the seat since 1979, said the party was in the grip of a “culture of intolerance, nastiness and intimidation”.

“Britain fought the Second World War to banish these views from our politics, but that superhuman effort and success is now under huge and sustained internal attack,” he wrote in his resignation letter.

“The leadership is doing nothing substantive to address this erosion of our core values. It saddens me to say that we are increasingly seen as a racist party. This issue alone compels me to resign the whip.”

The chairman of the Commons work and pensions committee now sits in parliament as an independent.

Ivan Lewis 

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Ivan Lewis – the MP for Bury South who was first elected in 1997 – resigned his Labour membership in December, a year after he was suspended over sexual harassment claims.

The former shadow Northern Ireland secretary – who denied the allegations – claimed there had been an “unnecessary and politically motivated” delay in dealing with his case.

At the time of his resignation, Lewis said he had “never” been interviewed about the complaints against him.

He also attacked Corbyn’s handling of Labour’s anti-Semitism row, saying the leader was “unwilling to condemn those whose hatred of Israel becomes Jew hatred”.

Corbyn has gone on the record a number of times to lay out his opposition to anti-Semitism.

Fiona Onasanya

PA Ready News UK

Peterborough MP Fiona Onasanya was expelled from the Labour Party in the first days of 2019 after she was found guilty of perverting the course of justice.  

The Old Bailey heard how the 35-year-old, who became an MP in 2017 in the key marginal seat, lied to the police about a speeding offence, claiming that someone else was behind the wheel of her car at the time.

Onasanya – who is now an independent MP – was sentenced to three months in prison in January. She has since launched an appeal against her conviction.

Only MPs who are jailed for 12 months or more are automatically removed from parliament.

Paul Flynn

Press Association

It was announced on Sunday that veteran MP Paul Flynn, who had represented Newport West since 1987, had died aged 84.

Flynn, who suffered from rheumatoid arthritis, announced in October he intended to stand down because of his health, telling reporters he would “wait for a convenient time to go”.

In a tweet, Corbyn said he was “very sad” to hear the news of Flynn’s passing, calling him a “good friend”.

“He had such love for Newport, knowledge of radical South Wales history and a dry wit,” he wrote. “He was an independent thinker who was a credit to the Labour Party. He will be greatly missed.”  

A date for Newport West by-election has yet to be announced.